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  • Shelley Dark

#14 quiet day on Hydra

This was the weather when I opened the shutters this morning. Luckily it's fined up to a blue blue day.

Did I tell you I texted Iliana a few days ago to ask where I'd find the apartment manual? I haven't been sure where to take my rubbish - instructions and how-to's, doctor, chemist, dentist, laundromats, restaurants, all that sort of helpful stuff.

She lives in Athens and only comes here for the summer. She was full of apology. The last guest lost it. She'll have another printed. I asked if she could send me the pdf by email in the meantime.

She sent me an email with the above manual. That's it. I've blanked out only the contact details. I actually did laugh out loud. No wonder the last guest lost it. I told you that Hydra was economical. Manuals go minimalist. That's if there ever was one. I love it.

Reminds me of an instruction sheet that our daughter Ange and I were once given in Italy: 'If the electricity breaks off, it should arrive immediately. If it does not happen, probably there is another damage that will be arranged at once.' It also said, 'It is forbidden speaking vulgarly especially in the hours of rest.'

Do you remember Antonios Kriezis who Maria said owned the mansion ruin on our walk the other day? He was born on the mainland not far from here in 1796 and was a ship's captain during the Greek War of Independence 1821-1830. So has to be a character in the book! Once Greece was independent under the new king Otto, Antonios was appointed Minister of Naval Affairs in 1836. He was prime minister of Greece from 1849 to 1854.

​My research information is growing like Topsy. Assassinations, secret societies, powerful men, naval battles! I start at one point and before I know where you am, I've followed a trail so far that I can't even remember what the original search was about.

I've just had a shower ready for my masáz. I googled Greek massage to see if they're usually hard or soft. I'm a softie myself. This is what I read: a Greek massage specifically implies spitting on the person's back as the main source of stimuli. OMG.

I quickly searched again. The Hippocratic method would be slightly preferable: dry rubbing with powder, horse-hair brush on the shoulders, oil massage and then cupping. With fire. Oh good. Then the final 'rubbing of sorrow' - the head massage. Didn't say whether it gives sorrow or takes it away.


Thank goodness Angelika had not read any of it. My hour with her was just perfect. I left walking on cloud nine without an ache in one muscle. But when I came down the spiral staircase, an older woman noticed my wet hair - I'd had a shower and shampooed it. 'Oh dear,' she said, 'It's cold outside. You'll have to cover your head.' It was a glorious day outside. 'I went outside with wet hair once and I had much pain in my head for months.' I promised I'd go home and dry it.

I called in to Sassa. 'Your hair is wet!' she said. 'You must dry it! You'll get sick!' I was beginning to believe them. I thought I could risk buying this dress first. It's the lightest cotton, almost a seersucker, to the floor with splits to the knees.

Then I had lunch at Piato. Tony didn't care about my hair. I asked him about the plates on the wall. He walked away and brought back some felt pens and a plate. 'You draw on a plate, I put it on the wall!' he said smiling. I'd need a week's planning!

What about crime on Hydra. 'There is none,' he said. 'A friend of mine asked me to go and check something at his house before the season starts this year. When I arrived, I found his keys in the door. They've been there for the whole winter.'

I said it must be terribly busy in the season. He said 'Oh yes, people are waiting in long queues for meals. I have seven waiters, five in the kitchen. It's bedlam. Last year, as I was rushing around, a man asked me if he could use the restaurant for a photo shoot. I said yes and thought no more about it.'

'Then in October, a man arrived and said OK I'm ready for the shoot. What shoot? I asked. I asked you in the summer, he said. Oh OK fine.'

'Next thing, who turns up? Vivienne Westwood (middle), Pamela Anderson (top left) and a heap of models. Can you believe it? Look, here are the photos!'

Pamela Anderson doesn't look thrilled, does she?

Doesn't Katerina have the loveliest face? She's Tony's mother. 'Make sure you come tomorrow or Monday. We're going to have sagros. It's a lovely fish.' 'How does he know he'll have sagros?' I asked. 'He goes to his secret place, and uses special bait.'

It's a type of sea bream. Sounds delicous!

After lunch I climbed a steep 1500 feet (500m) to the Monastery of Profitis Elias - the Prophet Elijah. After two hours both ways I arrived home at 6pm. Totally bushed. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. I have a feeling I might be taking it easy.

Until then buddies, I wait you,

shelley dark, writer 

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